Pair Skating Coach Dalilah Sappenfield

Dalilah Sappenfield and Larry Ibarra - February 9, 2010
Dalilah Sappenfield and Larry Ibarra - February 9, 2010. Photo by JO ANN Schneider Farris

Dalilah Sappenfield - Pair Skating Coach:

Dalilah Sappenfield is one of the top pair skating coaches in the United States. She has taught all levels of skating and has coached students at the National and International levels.

Dalilah's passion and love of coaching figure skatng is passed onto her students and shows in their skating, training, and performances.

2008 Coach of the Year Award Winner:

Sappenfield won the PSA Coach of the Year Award in 2008.
She won the award because her students swept all the pair titles at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Coach of Pair Skating Champions:

Sappenfield has coached several pair skating champions. Some of her students have included US pair skating champions Alexa Scimeca & Chris Knierim, Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker Caitlin Yankowskas & John Coughlin, and Caydee Denney & John Coughlin.

Dalilah has spent time studying the pair skating techniques of the Chinese and Russians and she does know that the time she has spent studying those techniques has helped to make her pair skaters successful.

About Dalilah Sappenfield:

Dalilah skated and trained in Florida. Her first coach was Carole Widom who taught her at the Sunrise Ice Arena in Florida. Later, she was coached by David and Rita Lowery.

Dalilah came from a family with an acrobatic background. Her family is the Flying Farfans, a flying trapeze circus family.

By using a trampoline, her father taught her how to jump on the ice the way that the circus performers jump in the air.

Dalilah did both pair skating and single skating. She began coaching skating in South Florida at the Miami Ice Arena in 1993 and was the rink's Skating Director. She moved to Colorado in 1999.

Family and Childhood:

Daliah Sappenfield is married and has two children, Gabriela and Larry. The family lives in Colorado. She grew up in Florida and is one of ten children. Her family included seven brothers and three sisters.

Many of the people in her extended family were acrobats in the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Dalilah performed in the circus as a child.

First Day on the Ice:

Dalilah first went ice skating when she was eight years old with a birthday party. She showed talent on that day by doing jumps and spins immediately, so she was approached by the rink's staff about beginning figure skating lessons.

First Pair Team:

Sappenfield's first pair team was Larry Ibarra and Yesenia Gamero. Larry Ibarra is Dalilah's adopted son. His parents died when he was twelve years old and Dalilah and her husband adopted him.

Larry Ibarra and Yesenia Gamero won the Junior Olympics in the Open Juvenile event in 1997. The pair had only been together for six months before winning the title.

Teaching Philosophy:

Dalilah Sappenfield loves teaching skating. Her philosophy is to not hold strong skaters back and to make them feel confident about their skating. She believes in pushing figure skaters to their potential.

She knows figure skaters skate best when they are happy and uses the model she received from her own coaches in her teaching.

Dalilah does not teach for herself. Her personal goals are not impressed upon her students. She makes sure her students enjoy what they are doing.

Dalilah keeps in contact with her past students. She shares their joys and sorrows, and follows their skating careers.

Training Environment:

Dalilah coaches at the Ice Hall at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The World Arena and the Broadmoor Skating Club became necessary as Dalilah developed more and more pair teams. It has proved to be an excellent training facility for her skaters. Each skater's specific needs are addressed on and off the ice.

Dalilah works hard to maintain a healthy and supportive training environment for her pair teams.

The skaters help each other when needed. The teams are competitive, but also are happy about the successes of each of Dalilah's pair teams.

Dalilah's Secondary Teaching Staff:

Sappenfield is the manager and main coach of each of her pair teams, but she also has a team of coaches that assist her. She does not believe any one coach can create figure skating champions.

Dalilah makes sure each team gets the instruction they need from her supporting team of coaches.

Guidelines for Parents:

Dalilah Sappenfield encourages the parents of her skaters to ask questions, but to not interfere with the training of her skaters. She explains to parents that for a team to succeed, that the team must be allowed to build a relationship, and encourages parents to be supportive of all the skaters she trains. Dalilah always keeps parents informed and in the loop, but believes she must be able to manage the pair teams.

Recommendations to Parents Wanting Their Child to Do Pair Skating:

Dalilah Sappenfield recommends that if a parent thinks his or her child might like to be a pair skater, to try it out first. A pair skater must be a good skater, so make sure that all figure skating basics and some double jumps are mastered before trying out with a partner.

The parent and child must understand that pair skating is difficult. A pair skater must be both strong mentally and physically. A pair skater can't be afraid. A pair skater's family must understand that a pair skater will put in long hours of training.

Pair skaters must be willing to work at the pair skating relationship. Communication is a key. Parents of pair skaters must understand that a pair skating team must learn to communicate. Parents must encourage their own children to not talk down about their partner or other skaters.


Dalilah meets with each pair team and their parents and together they set goals for the year. They decide on what competitions to take part in. They set goals for the elements to master. Dalilah believes each pair skating team is capable of more than they believe is possible.

Dalilah Sappenfield Loves Skating:

Dalilah Sappenfield loves the sport of figure skating. She enjoys helping ice skaters reach their dream and hopes to continue to do so for many years.

Made History:

Sappenfield made history in 2008. Her students won the novice, junior, and senior pair titles at the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships. This is the first time in U.S. figure skating history that one coach taught all the national pair skating champions.